St Margaret Mary's

St Margaret Mary’s is a comprehensive secondary school in Castlemilk, south Glasgow, which had a vision to ensure its pupils have equal access to bikes.

About the school

With 82% of pupils falling into Level 1 and 2 on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, many students didn’t have access to suitable, safe bikes and were lacking the skills and confidence to cycle independently. The school wanted students to be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling as part of an active lifestyle and take advantage of world-class facilities, such as the Cathkin Braes mountain bike trails, that sit right on their doorsteps.

In October 2018, the school applied to the Cycling Friendly Secondary Schools fund and was funded £2,750 to purchase new bikes and helmets as well as bike stands and tools that would be used to fix the existing fleet of bikes, getting them working properly for young people to use.

How bikes helped

Martin Walker, Principal Teacher of Wider Achievement and fund applicant, says that the new and upgraded bikes have resulted in “a massive increase in the access to bikes”, with 12-16 young people attending the cycling club each week. The school is also linking with the wider community, such as the local youth centre, Go Ride Coaches, and Glasgow Life to promote various cycling opportunities and linking with Bikeability Scotland and GoRide leaders has been integral in getting more students cycling.

The fund is addressing health and social inequalities, as Mr Walker says, “by helping groups of pupils that may not normally have access to after-school sport and physical activity opportunities. There are a number of vulnerable pupils who have benefitted a great deal by coming to the club, in terms of their wellbeing, confidence and fitness. I believe the work we are doing will encourage young people to have the confidence to use outstanding local facilities independently.”

Future plans

Through the fund, and mentoring support from the Cycling Scotland team, the school has been recognised for its hard work and dedication with the Cycling Friendly Secondary School award.

Martin says of the Cycling Friendly programme: “the fund provides an excellent opportunity to enhance provision for young people in schools to access cycling opportunities. This is backed up by guidance and mentoring to help maximise the effectiveness of the money spent.”

The school now has a long-term vision: aiming for the new equipment and the cycling activities leading to more young people and staff choosing to cycle to school for years to come.